Praise for The Malevolent Volume
Winner of the 2021 CLMP Firecracker Award for Poetry
Finalist for the 2021 Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry
The Washington Post, "Best Poetry Collections of 2020"
NPR, "Favorite Books of 2020"
The New York Times, "New and Noteworthy"
Buzzfeed, "Most Anticipated Titles of 2020"
Literary Hub, "Most Anticipated Books of 2020"
"Reed blends intersectional politics and bodily hunger in precise, thorny language." –The New York Times
"Reminds us that poetry can be playful and deadly serious in the same moment. . . . [Reed] piles on anxious images and quasi-logical connections to create a gratifying weirdness." –Troy Jollimore, The Washington Post
"In The Malevolent Volume, Justin Phillip Reed offers multiple realities and their consequences. Challenging our thinking, these poems consider the uses of horror: through the page, we experience what it's like to be both haunted and that which haunts. In doing so, Reed doesn't bend genre as much as he extends it with endless possibility.
A dextrous and epic music, this book faces down our combative and trespassed American moment. Almost every line is meant to be repeated slowly and held aloft for its heart-stopping craftsmanship. Studded with so many jeweled lines, we find, not absolution, but a complicated grace that will never, never accept your refusal.
Building, its lyric moves from baroque density to unraveling flight, bespeaking the urgency of our moment, the cruel bluntness of fascism, and its entrenchment in the foundational horror of national belonging, with its accompanying exclusions. 'Is it like a life, ' this malevolence we endure? Justin Phillip Reed has written a book that beckons us to reread as we seek to understand our time, how much of it is promissory and how much apocalyptic." –Judges' citation, 2021 Firecracker Award in Poetry
"Magnificent. . . . The gorgeous precision of the poems refuse to perform for the white gaze–they snatch back blackness from being used as a trope, crafting instead a new canon." –Erin Adair-Hodges, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Incendiary. With breathtaking lyrical dexterity, Reed first rebukes and then remakes western literature and myth, bringing Black queerness to the forefront. . . . Reed performs a deft sleight-of-hand to embrace the territory of horror and monstrousness–harnessing its inherent power to threaten the status quo." –Luiza Flynn-Goodlett, The Adroit Journal
"How Reed found a way to write a book as fanged and fabulous and complexly musical as this one right after his National Book Award-winning debut, Indecency, is a mystery, but one thing's clear now: he's here to stay. These are strong poems, showcasing a range of moods and affects. Sometimes punctuated, otherwise so neatly joined they don't need it. Sometimes gentle, in other moments, wielding fury's high bright tone." –John Freeman, Literary Hub
"A tour-de-force featuring a striking voice and artistry that will dazzle the vision, stun the ear, and demand attention. . . . [Reed] is conducting a literary chemical experiment that brings forward a new element with a long half-life, far past the ending of this collection."